The Homeboy
Directed by Dave Gebroe
Written by Rick Kronberg
Starring Dave McCrea, David M. Wallace


The Homeboy

A slight, occasionally charming, occasionally very good new independent film is "The Homeboy, a first film by director Dave Gebroe. Written by first-timer Rick Kronberg, it stars Dave McCrea as white rap star MC2, who's made it reasonably big - large house in the suburbs, just short of a mansion, caviar for his guests and friends - who gets hoist on his own petard when he uses rap's N-word - spelled 'nigga' - to a black interviewer (Julie Brown). She demands that he apologize or she'll crucify him on her show.

Meanwhile his sink repairman, the meek Wendell Lockport, turns out to be almost-forgotten (white) British rap star Hoolie Hooligan (David M. Wallace), who was an early inspiration to MC. The plan is for MC and Hoolie to record a new CD together, but it turns out that Hoolie is an unspeakably obnoxious slob, constantly instigating fights and terrorizing strangers. He manages to lose MC his recording dates, his friends, and even the waitress he's infatuated with at a Chinese restaurant.

The film has a nicely original concept - the white rapper who can't quite leave his bourgeois roots behind and pays the price for it by latching on to someone he thinks is more authentic - but it suffers from a script that's just too thin to sustain its feature length. Scenes that should come on, click into place, and then get off, are held too long while we wait for something to happen. People rant and rave at each other when we already know the outcome. There's very little in the way of plot; it's more a series of extended sketches, and the sketches are repetitious.

Nevertheless, McCrea is an fine if unusual choice for the lead. He has a homely, endearing quality which lets us see into his mind at work. And David M. Wallace does an excellent job of showing us two conflicting personalities, but he is reduced to repeating himself instead of carrying us and the film to some new place. Finally, a small point: it was an infuriatingly bad idea to present us with a character named Beatbox, an imitation of Kevin Smith's Silent Bob, who simply hangs around and does not speak until the end of the film. Surely someone could have come up with a better idea.